A Firework-Free 4th of July

Oregon Fourth of July events take on a more relaxing feel here in Maupin. Maupin’s Independence Day is fireworks-free! While this may be disappointing to some, for others it’s a welcome alternative.

The Darker Side of Fireworks

When thinking about Independence Day, you often recall delicious food, family, and fireworks that light up the night sky. However, for some, fireworks can be a source of stress, especially for Veterans and others who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The loud and sudden noises can sometimes be a trigger. Although not every individual who lives with PTSD may be affected, many Veterans are stepping up to raise awareness of those who might be, the Marine Corps Community service explains.

While planned events like scheduled town fireworks can be prepared-for, unexpected late-night firecrackers and other noises can trigger negative reactions for Veterans such as flashbacks to the battlefield. Fireworks can also be stressful for pets and they interfere with the ability to sleep for people young and old. (Side note: we have some pet-friendly rooms at the Imperial, so bring your fuzzy buddy and enjoy a restful night’s sleep.)

Benefits of a Firework Free Zone 

Maupin’s geographic location prevents the use of fireworks and other fire hazards here during summer months. Our dry and sunny climate is perfect for rafting fun but leads to an increased risk of wildfires. In protecting the town and the surrounding area, our fireworks-free Independence Day serves as a peaceful escape for anyone wanting to skip the explosions and chaos.

Oregon 4th of July Activities from History 

Before fireworks were so easily accessible, Oregonians found other ways to celebrate the day and some may still be applicable. So if you’re looking for things to do on the 4th of July that don’t involve fireworks, here are five ideas drawn from Eastern Oregon celebrations.

  1. Grill-up some burgers

2. Enjoy a parade with your friends

3. Go horseback riding (not many horses here in Maupin- but you can ride one of our rafts instead)

4. If horses aren’t your style maybe a bike or motorcycle ride will do

5. Finally, take a nap and repeat (or just stick with the nap)

Photos from an Eastern Oregon 4th of July in 1941.


Wherever you spend it, we hope you have an amazing 4th of July!


Imperial River Company, Maupin OR
Lodging and Rafting on the Lower Deschutes River
(541) 395-2404


Oregon Camping Inspiration: Deschutes Overnight Rafting Trips

It’s camping and whitewater rafting season here in Maupin, Oregon!

So, you’re getting the gang together for a summer adventure. You need an excitement-filled trip they’ll remember that’s not a logistical nightmare. We’ve got you covered.

Combining rafting and camping is like chocolate and peanut butter – they’re just better together! Summertime in Maupin is the perfect time to leave behind the typical day-to-day and reconnect with your friends and/or family along the picturesque Deschutes River. Spend the hot, sunny days alternating between shooting rip-roaring rapids and lazily drifting down placid stretches of our ‘Wild and Scenic’ river. Then spend the evening gazing at a billion twinkling stars as your guide takes care of the logistics.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare for a fun-filled two- or three-day excursion with Imperial River Company:

Show Me the Menu

We do all the shopping, prepping, schlepping, and cooking so you can relax and enjoy your vacation. For dinner, ditch the burnt hot dogs and let us prepare you a rustic 3 course meal while you relax with your favorite people on the river. Feel free to bring your favorite alcoholic beverages to accompany your meal(s).

A typical dinner at the campsite includes an appetizer, steaks, vegetables and a starch, bread, salad and dessert. Breakfast includes an egg-based dish such as breakfast burritos or ham and eggs. For lunch on the river you can look forward to a picnic lunch on the raft of deli sandwiches and a side. We are happy to cater to any dietary restrictions.

Packing, Simplified

On our overnight rafting trips, you can enjoy the fun of camping with your crew without the annoyance of coordinating campsites, packing your own food and lugging around the gear. We supply tents, sleeping bags, blow up mattresses and everything you need for a peaceful night under the stars. All you need to bring is yourself and any personal items you desire. View our packing suggestions for Maupin, Oregon under FAQ here.

Squad Power

We can comfortably accommodate groups from a minimum of 4 folks to as many as 15 members, making it the perfect adventure for family trips, bachelor/bachelorette weekends, company retreats, or anything in between. Rally the squad and prepare for some seriously unprecedented togetherness.

Leave No Trace

We follow the Leave No Trace philosophy when enjoying the pristine Maupin wilderness. It details ways we can protect and enjoy the wonders of camping in Oregon wilderness together, including:

  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Respect wildlife
  • Prevent wildfires: we abide by the no burn law effective during the Summer fire season (June 1 – October 15), but you can still squish together graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows over a lantern if you’d like.

Our overnight rafting trips are an immersive outdoor getaway free from the stress of coordinating supplies. We recommend coming during the week to enjoy the most peace on the river! In order to maximize guest experiences, Saturday launch is not available for overnight trips from July 1 through Labor Day as campsite reservations are not available.

See all of our rafting trip options here and start planning your trip today, and then call us with any questions and to book your grand adventure. Our guides are waiting to pamper you!



First-Class Floating: Whitewater Rapids Classes 101

Whitewater Rafting on the Lower Deschutes - Imperial River Company

Just like your teacher used to grade your tests in school, whitewater (either an individual rapid, or the entire river) is graded too! Instead of A to F, these grades are divided into six categories from class I (the easiest) to class VI (the most difficult and dangerous).

As the White Water Guidebook explains, the Deschutes River runs hundreds of miles from the mountains near Bend, Oregon to the Columbia River. The river is runnable for its entire length offering rapids from Class I to VI, great fishing, and overnight trip options. The most popular section of the Deschutes is from Harpham Flat to Sandy Beach and runs through the town of Maupin, hence the location of the Imperial River Company! The fun rapids and consistent flow make it a great place to raft on a hot summer day.

Rapids Classes Defined:

Class I

Moving water with a few riffles and small waves – it’s a relaxing way to spend the day.

Class II

Easy rapids, waves up to three feet tall that are readily seen, and wide channels that can be discovered without scouting. Some maneuvering is required during this little rock and roll. Examples during our Deschutes day trip:

    • Mile 34.2: Four Chutes Rapids – wave train down the left, boulder garden on the right.
    • Mile 49.9: Surf City Rapids (II+) – offers paddlers a chance to work on their surfing.
    • Mile 51.1: White River Rapids (II+) – fun waves at the White River confluence.
    • Mile 51.8: Lower Elevator Rapids(II+) – multiple waves for excitement and light splashing.

Class III

Moderate – Waves numerous, high, irregular; rocks; eddies; rapids with passages clear but narrow, requiring experience in maneuvering. Waves up to four feet that send the boat shimmying and water gushing over its sides. Plenty of excitement.

      • Mile 21.1: White Horse Rapid (III+) challenging ½ mile boulder garden, action packed!
      • Mile 33.5: Buckskin Mary Rapids – a swift wave train down the middle.
      • Mile 42.9: Wapanita Rapids – thrilling wave train straight through the center.
      • Mile 44.0: Boxcar Rapids – large waves and a small ledge drop with a hole to the left that is best avoided.

Class IV

Long, difficult rapids, narrow passages, turbulent water that requires precise maneuvering and sends hearts racing.

    • Mile 50.3: Oak Springs Rapids – A big drop with routes down the right or left. It’s an easy scout from the road on river right.

Class V

Extremely Difficult – Exceedingly difficult, long and violent rapids, following each other almost without interruption; riverbed extremely obstructed; big drops; violent currents; very steep gradient. Paddlers should have prior Class IV or better whitewater experience with experienced guides who know the river.

Class VI

Unrunnable! Just like it says – Don’t even think about it! These constitute waterfalls that should not be attempted. Outfitter raft trips don’t go here – there’s too much other water to enjoy without risking it all!

    • Mile 53.8: Sherars Falls, but we exit at Sandy Beach a mile before the falls.
Whitewater Rapids Classes - Deschutes River - Imperial River Co.
Image from RaftingAmerica.com

Now that you’re an expert on white water classification, check out this great breakdown of the Deshutes River Rapids from Harpham Flats to Sandy Beach so you know exactly what to expect at each turn.

Our runs range from class I to class III, with the option of a class IV for the more experienced rafters/thrill-seekers. With our experienced guides you get all of excitement with none of the none of the stress. We’ll see you out there!

Booking a rafting adventure here: https://deschutesriver.com/deschutes-river-rafting/  

Imperial River Company
Lodging and Rafting on the Lower Deschutes River



You Don’t Know Deschutes

Deschutes River History-Imperial River Company

The Deschutes River is Maupin’s lifeblood, bringing fishing, recreation, jobs, and irrigation to the town and surrounding areas. The river has a long and rich history and many interesting features that make it unique. Check out some fun river facts below and impress your friends at trivia night.

A River by Any Other Name

The Deschutes River may have a bit of an identity complex. The Nez Perce tribe named the river ‘Towarnehiooks’ (translation: ‘enemies’) because a warring tribe, the Paiutes, lived along its banks. Part of the Lewis and Clark expedition recorded the Towarnehiooks name on their first encounter in 1805, then attempted to rename it the Clark River on their return in 1806. That name didn’t last long however, as early 19th century French fur traders dubbed the waterway the catchier ‘Riviere des Chutes’, which means ‘River of the Falls’, later dubbed the Deschutes.

Going with the Flow

The Deschutes River originates at Little Lava Lake in the Deschutes National Forest. Rainfall on the eastern side of the Cascade Range flows north down the Deschutes River to its mouth at the mighty Columbia River.  While most rivers cut their own path, the Deschutes had a much more dramatic and sudden change. It originally flowed around Pilot Butte in Bend from the east. Approximately 188,000 years ago, a lava flow filled in that channel during a period of volcanic activity in the area and the river was diverted into a new channel along the west side where it runs today.

The Other 98%

The high desert plateaus of Eastern Oregon are arid and rainfall averages between 10 and 14 inches per year (the national average is 38 inches per year). The Deschutes River allows cities to grow and enables ranching and agriculture to proliferate in the otherwise inhospitable environment. But desert living comes at a cost: during the summer months, nearly 98% of the river’s volume is diverted to irrigation channels.

As we head in to our summer season, we are thankful for the beautiful river that allows our city to flourish in this stunning landscape. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate life on the Deschutes and to take advantage of the many recreational opportunities in and around Maupin.

Imperial River Company
Lodging and Rafting on the Lower Deschutes River

“SUP” With That? An Intro to Stand Up Paddle Boarding 

SUP in Maupin - Pine Hollow Paddle, X-Dog Events

A Brief History of SUP

Stand up paddle boarding, or SUP (“the act of propelling oneself on a floating platform with the help of a paddle or pole”), is the world’s newest water-sport craze. There is evidence, however, of early forms of SUP dating back over 3,000 years and spanning the globe from Peru, China, Israel, and beyond. Modern SUP can trace its early origins to 1960s Hawaii and the Waikiki Beach Boys of Oahu, and pro-surfer Laird Hamilton laid the groundwork for the sport with a well-documented SUP outing on September 12, 2002.

Over the last 17 years, the sport has exploded in popularity and there have been huge advances in equipment and materials design. Today, SUP-based activities include racing, yoga, touring and fishing. There are dozens of board rental companies and guides across the state of Oregon and plenty of social media groups and pages dedicated to sharing best practices and tips on optimal SUP locations around the globe.

SUP in Maupin

The Maupin area is a top choice for SUP aficionados due to the range of water conditions and our sunny, high-desert climate. Pine Hollow Reservoir in nearby Wamic, Oregon is a beautiful flat-water option for newbies to the sport. The Lower Deschutes River offers some calm stretches with slow-moving currents that are great for those with a little more experience. Expert SUPers can tackle the rapids along the Deschutes for an added challenge. Plus, if you want some extra company, you can bring your best fuzzy friend along for the ride.

One of our favorite SUP events is the X-Dog Events’ Pine Hollow Paddle, which takes place on the first Saturday in June. There are five different race events and a celebratory ‘paddle parade’ at the end of the racing day. This event truly is fun for the whole family and beginners are encouraged to participate!

Helpful SUP Information

  • SUP For Beginners:  REI has a series of articles detailing all that beginners need to know to get started with SUP.
  • Class & Rentals (Portland): Travel Portland’s list of SUP classes, SUP yoga, and where to get geared-up in and around the City of Roses.
  • SUP in the City: Travel Oregon serves up some of the best SUP sites across the state.

Stand up paddle boarding is a great workout and a fun group activity. With so many places to splash around, why not make this summer your summer of SUP?

Imperial River Company, Maupin OR
Lodging and Rafting on the Lower Deschutes River
(541) 395-2404

Photo: X-Dog Events, Pine Hollow Paddle 

Celebrating Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways Program

Map Oregon Cycling Routes

2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways program. The program currently boasts 17 routes, each one vetted by agency personnel for being not only beautiful, but also safe for cyclists and that add value to small rural communities throughout the state. If you’re looking for a true Oregon experience – look no further!

About the Program

Oregon has long been known for being a bike-friendly state, so it’s no surprise that we are the first (and, so far, only) state to designate a Scenic Bikeways Program. It was founded through a partnership between the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Travel Oregon, Oregon Department of Transportation and Cycle Oregon and is run by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

New routes are proposed by local cyclists. Each route must include locations where cyclists can find support services such as water, restaurants, hotels and camping options. Only about half of the routes qualify but, for those that do, the rural communities benefit from promotional and state support. 

Economic Impact

A 2014 study on the economic impact of this program estimated that the routes contributed $12.4M in spending activity to the state during the calendar year. This figure represented about 3% of all bicycle-related tourism for the year, including both day trips and overnight adventures. As there were only 12 designated routes in 2014, that’s an average of $1M per route per year. If that estimate holds true, 2019 should see an economic benefit of at least $17M!

Planning Your Ride

The bikeways offer a wide variety of experiences. From easy, flat rides to high-intensity, multi-day treks, flat high desert prairies to forested hills, riders of all experience levels are sure to find a route (or several!) that is just right for them.

There are many resources for planning your Oregon Scenic Bikeway trip. Travel Oregon lists each route and includes photos, trip planning tips, and information on length, difficulty, and the best time of year to experience each route. Here, you’ll also find videos and tips on other sightseeing opportunities and activities to experience when you’re in the area.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department also has information on the routes that are organized by difficulty: Mild, Moderate, Challenging and Extreme. The page links to road conditions and construction information, ride with GPS links, and cue sheets. Check out the brochure and map for easy reference on-the-go.

You can also get inspired by taking a sneak peak of every route thanks to the Travel Oregon YouTube Channel’s Oregon Scenic Bikeways Playlist. (Imperial River Company is featured in the Sherar’s Falls video!)

This unique cycling tourism program is a fantastic addition to Oregon’s adventure-travel options and is certainly worth celebrating.

Imperial River Company, Maupin OR
Lodging and Rafting on the Lower Deschutes River
(541) 395-2404